Bob works as a manager in a furniture store. Peter, his boss, is not happy about sales. Bob’s new advertising campaign hasn’t helped. Peter decides to fire him.
Peter: Bob, I hate to break the news, but our sales were down again last month.
Bob: Down again, Peter?
Peter: Yeah. These days, everybody’s shopping at our competition, Honest Abe’s Furniture Store.
Bob: But everything in there costs an arm and a leg!
Peter: That’s true. They do charge top dollar.
Bob: And their salespeople are very strange. They really give me the creeps!
Peter: Well, they must be doing something right over there. Meanwhile, we’re about to go belly-up.
Bob: I’m sorry to hear that. I thought my new advertising campaign would save the day.
Peter: Let’s face it: your advertising campaign was a real flop.
Bob: Well then I’ll go back to the drawing board.
Peter: It’s too late for that. You’re fired!
Bob: What? You’re giving me the ax?
Peter: Yes. I’ve already found a new manager. She’s as sharp as a tack.
Bob: Can’t we even talk this over? After all, I’ve been working here for 10 years!
Peter: There’s no point in arguing, Bob. I’ve already made up my mind.
Bob: Oh well, at least I won’t have to put up with your nonsense anymore! Good-bye to you and good bye to this dead-end job.
Peter: Please leave before I lose my temper!


about to ready to; on the verge of
EXAMPLE 1: It’s a good thing Bob left the furniture store when he did.
Peter was so angry, he was about to throw a dining room chair at him.
EXAMPLE 2: I’m glad you’re finally home. I was just about to have dinner without you.
after all despite everything; when everything has been considered; the fact is
EXAMPLE 1: You’d better invite Ed to your party. After all, he’s a good friend.
EXAMPLE 2: It doesn’t matter what your boss thinks of you. After all, you’re going to quit your job anyway.
at least anyway; the good thing is that…
EXAMPLE 1: We’ve run out of coffee, but at least we still have tea.
EXAMPLE 2: Tracy can’t afford to buy a car, but at least she has a good bicycle.
NOTE: The second definition of this phrase is “no less than”: There were at least 300 people waiting in line to buy concert tickets.

(to) break the news to make something known
EXAMPLE 1: Samantha and Michael are getting married, but they haven’t yet broken the news to their parents.
EXAMPLE 2: You’d better break the news to your father carefully. After all, you don’t want him to have a heart attack!
(to) cost an arm and a leg to be very expensive
EXAMPLE 1: A college education in America costs an arm and a leg.
EXAMPLE 2: All of the furniture at Honest Abe’s costs an arm and a leg!
dead-end job a job that won’t lead to anything else
EXAMPLE 1: Diane realized that working as a cashier was a dead-end job.
EXAMPLE 2: Jim worked many dead-end jobs before finally deciding to start his own business.
(let’s) face it accept a difficult reality
EXAMPLE 1: Let’s face it, if Ted spent more time studying, he wouldn’t be failing so many of his classes!
EXAMPLE 2: Let’s face it, if you don’t have a college degree, it can be difficult to find a high-paying job.
(to) give one the creeps to create a feeling of disgust or horror
EXAMPLE 1: Ted’s friend Matt has seven earrings in each ear and an “I Love Mom” tattoo on his arm. He really gives Nicole the creeps.
EXAMPLE 2: There was a strange man following me around the grocery store. He was giving me the creeps!
(to) go back to the drawing board to start a task over because the last try failed; to start again from the beginning
EXAMPLE 1: Frank’s new business failed, so he had to go back to the drawing board.
EXAMPLE 2: The president didn’t agree with our new ideas for the company, so we had to go back to the drawing board.
(to) go belly-up to go bankrupt
EXAMPLE 1: Many people lost their jobs when Enron went belly-up.
EXAMPLE 2: My company lost $3 million last year. We might go belly-up.
(to) give someone the ax to fire someone
EXAMPLE 1: Mary used to talk to her friends on the phone all day at work,
until one day her boss finally gave her the ax.
EXAMPLE 2: Poor Paul! He was given the ax two days before Christmas.
(to) lose one’s temper to become very angry
EXAMPLE 1: Bob always loses his temper when his kids start talking on
the telephone during dinner.
EXAMPLE 2: When Ted handed in his essay two weeks late, his teacher really lost her temper.
(to) make up one’s mind to reach a decision; to decide
EXAMPLE 1: Stephanie couldn’t make up her mind whether to attend
Harvard or Stanford. Finally, she chose Stanford.
EXAMPLE 2: Do you want an omelette or fried eggs? You’ll need to make up your mind quickly because the waitress is coming.
no point in no reason to; it’s not worth (doing something)
EXAMPLE 1: There’s no point in worrying about things you can’t change.
EXAMPLE 2: There’s no point in going on a picnic if it’s going to rain.
(to) put up with to endure without complaint
EXAMPLE 1: For many years, Barbara put up with her husband’s annoying behavior. Finally, she decided to leave him.
EXAMPLE 2: I don’t know how Len puts up with his mean boss every day.
real flop or flop a failure
EXAMPLE 1: The Broadway play closed after just 4 days – it was a real flop!
EXAMPLE 2: The company was in trouble after its new product flopped.
(to) save the day to prevent a disaster or misfortune
EXAMPLE 1: The Christmas tree was on fire, but Ted threw water on it and
saved the day.
EXAMPLE 2: We forgot to buy champagne for our New Year’s party, but
Sonia brought some and really saved the day!
(as) sharp as a tack very intelligent
EXAMPLE 1: Jay scored 100% on his science test. He’s as sharp as a tack.
EXAMPLE 2: Anna got a scholarship to Yale. She’s as sharp as a tack.
(to) talk over to discuss
EXAMPLE 1: Dave and I spent hours talking over the details of the plan.
EXAMPLE 2: Before you make any big decisions, give me a call and we’ll
talk things over.
top dollar the highest end of a price range; a lot of money
EXAMPLE 1: Nicole paid top dollar for a shirt at Banana Republic.
EXAMPLE 2: Wait until those jeans go on sale. Why pay top dollar?